The ALA is supporting the Internet blackout today

The ALA is supportive of the Internet Blackout protest–I’m proud to say that I’m a member of this organization. I understand the need to protect copyright interests, but you know what? Copyright laws were created to help facilitate the flow of information, while protecting copyright. And SOPA and PIPA would cut that flow down to a bare trickle by jailing or blacklisting anyone who are pirates.

Similarly, Peter Brantley at Publisher Weekly wrote a great op-ed about why libraries are the best way to counter piracy. I particularly like this bit:

In 2002, almost 10 years ago, Tim O’Reilly penned a famous essay entitled “Piracy is Progressive Taxation” in which he discussed O’Reilly Media’s decision to release ebooks without DRM, and O’Reilly’s belief that piracy was not a significant threat to their sales or reputation. Tim ends the essay by quoting from Star Wars’ Hans Solo: “Give the wookie what he wants!” — in other words, by filling demand in as many places, and as many ways as possible, the incentive for e-book piracy is dramatically reduced. Whatever piracy remains is likely inevitable: hardcore users who will resist proffering any payment for content under any terms. The majority of readers seek an easy, straightforward means of purchasing what they want. In fact, by allowing “freeniks” to pirate, price setting can focus solely on customers from whom revenue is expected, generating higher income across the demand curve.

That’s exactly what I think.

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